Electrical Arc Driven Hypersonic Projectiles

Report No. ARL-TR-8683
Authors: Peter Bartkowski, Paul Berning, Casey Uhlig, and Matthew J Coppinger
Date/Pages: April 2019; 54 pages
Abstract: The US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command?s Army Research Laboratory has developed a research gun capable of firing small projectiles of less than 1 g at velocities over 3000 m/s. This gun is powered via a high-voltage electrical discharge rather than conventional propellants. A 20-kV, 188-μF capacitor bank is used to power the gun. Vaporization of a copper electrode creates a pressure in the breech that propels the projectile forward down the barrel. Several different design variables were explored to determine their effect on projectile velocity. The variable that had the largest effect on projectile velocity was the strength of the steel barrel. Computer simulations of the gun performance matched well with the experimental results.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: April 1, 2019